Officials of Delta Sports Commission may be having a sleepless night ahead of today’s international friendly match between the Super Eagles and Crane of Uganda, following the large turn out of fans recorded on daily basis at the team’s training ground.
The match against the Cranes will be the first time the city of Asaba will host an international football event since Delta State was created on August 27, 1991.
Though Asaba hosted the CAA Africa Senior Athletics Championships from August 1 to 5, as well as the Aiteo Cup final between Rangers of Enugu and Kano Pillars recently, the people see the Eagles versus Crane of Uganda clash as a bigger event.
The CAA event in August recorded the biggest spectatorship ever in African athletics history.
An official of the Delta Sports Commission told The Guardian yesterday that one major challenge they had at hand was dealing with the large turn out of fans, who ‘want to see the Eagles at all cost.’
“Ordinarily, some of us could have joined the team on the chartered flight to Johannesburg for the match against Bafana Bafana last week, but we had so much issues to deal with here,” the official said. “The biggest among them is how we will be able to control the large turn out of the fans. Some of them have not seen the Super Eagles physically before, and they have been trooping out in their thousands to see them in training. We might have a large crowd of spectators on Tuesday, and we have to prepare well ahead. Already, we are having hectic time controlling the fans at the Eagles hotel.”
Apart from soccer fans within Asaba, the Eagles versus Crane of Uganda encounter is expected to draw fans from many neighboring towns and villages, including Onitsha, a commercial nerve center across the River Niger, Awka, Owerri, Enugu and Benin City.
Both nations will be meeting in a friendly encounter for the second time in three years after Uganda defeated Nigeria in their last match 1-0 as part of the opening ceremony of the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.
Uganda, just like Nigeria, have picked their ticket to the 2019 African Cup of Nations billed for Cameroon.
Uganda’s 31–man delegation flew into Lagos yesterday and are expected to move to Asaba this morning.
Defender Leon Balogun, injured in the 1-1 draw with South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday, has been excused from today’s clash, otherwise Nigeria’s 2019 AFCON ticket–winning squad is intact.
The match will kick off at 4.30 p.m. with fans guaranteed a huge bonus as they will also have the opportunity of watching the Nigeria Super Cup 2018 between Lobi Stars of Makurdi and Enugu Rangers at the same venue, starting from 7.00 p.m.